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Development at Huffman Koos Just Around the Corner in River Edge

After a four year delay, plans for the former Huffman Koos lot have been submitted to the building department for review

Development at Huffman Koos Just Around the Corner in River Edge

River Edge has waited just a little over four years for the 2008 approved Huffman Koos development project to begin. And now, the project is looking to finally begin once County Building officials sign off on a set of recently submitted plans.

Mayor Sandy Moscaritolo announced during Monday's council meeting that finalized plans have been submitted to the borough's building department for review and a developer's agreement is in the works.

"Last week March Construction, the contractor for the Huffman Koos owners, delivered plans for the new shopping center to the building department," Moscaritolo said. "That is a big step in my mind that they have delivered plans to the building department."

Route 4 - Main Street LLC which is owned by Peter and Paul Ciancia was granted site plan approval by the Planning Board in the fall of 2007 to construct a trio of retail buildings on Main Street with Total Wine moving closer towards Rt. 4 into a new 30,000-square-foot building on the property.

The former Huffman Koos building was demolished in 2008 but the project stalled as the economy weakened and the owners were required to spend $3 million in remediation efforts to remove  trichloroethlyne per the state Department of Environmental Projection requirements. The chemical compound was historically used in dry cleaning operations up until the 1970-1980s.

The project was also delayed as Route 4 - Main Street LLC, sought financial support from the state  Economic Development Authority under the  Economic Redevelopment and Growth (ERG) Program. The Authority denied Route 4 - Main Street LLC's application but the company was able to begin signing leases in the fall.

As of September 2012, CVS signed an agreement in principal to move from their current location near the River Edge Diner into the current Total Wine store. A third building, approximately 22,000-square-foot, situated in the middle of the property had not yet garnered a potential lessee at that time.

"Right now the plans, which were the figment of someone's imagination are now on file," Moscaritolo said. "We've been waiting four years for these plans to materialize."

According to Moscaritolo, once County officials sign off on the plans the borough can then sign a developer's agreement with March Construction and the Ciancia brothers. After that point, the developer can then apply for building permits and begin construction.

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